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By We Yone Staff Writer

This paper has in several past editions pointed out the National Fire Force under the Leadership of Chief Fire Officer, Mr Ali Ahmad Nazir Kamanda-Bongay should undergo a paradigm shift. This calls for injective of additional financial and logistical resources to enable the NFF better placed and prepared to not only prevent and or fight traditional outbreaks of fire but most importantly to fight fuel fire outbreaks.

Before going into the latest tragic fuel-tanker fire disaster which occasioned the monumental loss of lives and property, the administration of NFF deserves commendation for gains made since the days of past APC administration to date in terms of recruitment and training of personnel, procurement of fire engines and decentralization of operations. Prior to the latest fuel tanker disaster, the NFF was engaged in a spectacular commissioning program of the Fire Force Training school’s fire station in Sima Town, Rokel, and Western Rural Area.

In addition to the commissioning of the fire station to serve the Western Rural Area and even parts of Lower Koya chiefdom, Portloko district and communities like Allen Town and Calaba Town, as and when the need arises, a health clinic structure was also commissioned. The aforementioned infrastructures came in the wake of the opening of five stations in Pujehun, Portloko and a number of districts-all in a bid to decentralize firefighting operations.

Thus, to all intents and purposes, the ongoing tenure of CFO Kamanda-Bongay has been one of incomparable successes and achievements as part of the government’s security architecture. Coupled with results being realized from overseas connections especially with the government and people of the Federal Republic of Germany, the operational strength of NFF is worthy of commendation. Yet, the NFF is still grappling with constraints evidenced in inadequate allocations and somehow luke-warm attitude by very senior officials to treat NFF as a key institution in the security apparatus.

The bottom line is, Fire Force is the topmost when it comes to the protection of lives and properties. Considering historic landmarks of the disaster fire can cause to the nation: London fire outbreak and Fire burn in Freetown in 1940, calls for the fire force to be adequately beefed up and transformed cannot be over-emphasized. The Friday 5th November 2021 fire outbreak at Wellington, Freetown is a national disaster which for decades to come will hunt the national spectacle and psyche.

Although, We Yone will refrain from blaming anybody or institutions, what came out clearly is the fact that the NFF lacks the equipment and materials to put out fuel fire outbreaks. Appreciable, the NFF was able to contain the spread of the inferno, thereby ensuring the collateral damage to properties was manipulated. But the inadequacy of resources to enable NFF to procure fuel firefighting materials like foams, extinguishers and other logistics to specifically put fuel fire outbreaks is a cause of concern.

Therefore, the latest disaster should serve as a wake-up call for the NFF to undergo a paradigm shift in its operations to ensure diversity, enhanced capacity and timely response. It is not a problem; rather it is a lack of intensive injection of resources. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Finance as well as the office of the President should consider this as a priority in the interest of compatriots and infrastructures.

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